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CHICAGO--The complete transcript from the AFL-CIO president forum at Soldier Field.

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<> <> Full Transcript attached and pasted below. The third segment is also
attached.

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES PARTICIPATE IN A
CANDIDATES' FORUM HOSTED BY THE AFL-CIO
AUGUST 7, 2007
SPEAKERS: SEN. CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, D-CONN.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, D-N.Y.
FORMER SEN. JOHN EDWARDS, D-N.C.
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON, D-N.M.
SEN. JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., D-DEL.
REP. DENNIS J. KUCINICH, D-OHIO
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, D-ILL.
KEITH OLBERMANN, MODERATOR
JOHN SWEENEY, AFL-CIO PRESIDENT
[*]
OLBERMANN: Good evening and welcome to Soldier Field here in
Chicago, where we have definitely not gathered for an NFL preseason
game. This season is fully under way, and thus so is this exhibition,
exhibition in the best sense of the word. Seven candidates for the
Democratic presidential nomination joining me on this stage for a
forum sponsored by the AFL-CIO.
By now you are familiar with these candidates. They are -- and
in the interest of preserving time, I ask that you please hold your
applause -- from left to right, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson,
Illinois Senator Barack Obama...
(APPLAUSE)
... Delaware Senator Joe Biden, New York Senator Hillary
Clinton...
(APPLAUSE)
... Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, former North Carolina Senator
John Edwards...
(APPLAUSE)
... and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
(APPLAUSE)
And I thank each of you for coming tonight.
In addition, we're joined here tonight by our host, the president
of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney.
Mr. Sweeney, good evening.
(APPLAUSE)
SWEENEY: Thanks, Keith.
Let me add my own welcome to this amazing crowd and to our
television viewers. A huge thank you to the Illinois AFL-CIO and the
Chicago Federal of Labor.
To all of our unions and to MSNBC, thanks for this opportunity.
Thank you to all the candidates for being here tonight and for
what you have done for working people throughout your lives, all of
you.
The AFL-CIO organized this presidential forum because working
families across our country want to hear want to hear what these
candidates will do about our concerns, about rebuilding the middle
class, about making America stronger, about health care and retirement
security, about good jobs, and about the freedom of every working
person to join a union and bargain for a better life.
This crowd came out because we are so ready to change the
direction of our country.

(APPLAUSE)
SWEENEY: The AFL-CIO is planning to drive that change with our
biggest election effort ever. Tonight we want to hear how each of
these candidates will lead that change. We believe one of the people
up here tonight will be our next president.
(APPLAUSE)
So you can think of this AFL-CIO presidential forum as one giant
job interview, with workers doing the interviewing. It is workers who
make our country great and it is working people who will make the
difference in 2008.
Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Mr. Sweeney.
In addition, I would like to welcome you if you are watching on
our NBC station here in Chicago, WMAQ.
Before we get started, a brief word about how all this will
unfold tonight.
To begin with this evening, I will be asking questions of the
candidates. In our second segment, they will field questions from
members of the audience, all 15,000 or so. We should mention they are
members of the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions. Any follow-up
questions will be at my discretion, presuming I have any.
And in round three tonight, more questions and lots of them on a
wide variety of topics, in what we have been calling the lightning
round. Given atmospheric conditions here in Chicago, we are hoping we
do not mean lightning literally.
Speaking of lights, a yellow light tonight will warn when there
are 15 seconds remaining to respond. Red means time is up,
And, candidates, please heed the light cues. Ignore the lights,
we turn off your air conditioning.

(LAUGHTER)
OLBERMANN: Second offense, your air conditioning becomes heat.
(LAUGHTER)
Also, in the interest of time, I would ask our audience to please
hold your displays of affection for the candidates' answers until the
end of the debate.
We only have 90 minutes here. It's not a lot of time, and there
are enough questions ready to fill every seat in this stadium.
In this first round, initial responses for all of you, please,
will be limited to 90 second, follow-up answers to 30 seconds. These
formalities out of the way, the lucky recipient of our first question
has been determined by lottery.
Senator Dodd, that would be you.
Obviously, in the light of what happened in Minnesota last week,
maintaining infrastructure requires spending. And how tax dollars are
spent is a matter of priorities. What should we not build? What
should we not be funding to see to it that our highways and our
bridges and our tunnels and our mines are all properly maintained?
DODD: Well, thank you, first of all, and thank you for the warm
welcome this evening. I'm a union guy, proud to be a union man, and
thank you for inviting us to be here tonight.
(APPLAUSE)
Let me, first of all, say that all of us here on the stage at
this very moment are thinking about those six mine workers in Utah
that are struggling -- and their families -- this evening. I can't
begin without mentioning them and what they're going through this
evening.
I happen to believe that putting our country back to work begins
by cutting the funding for the war in Iraq. Spending $12 every month,
spending $2 billion every week has got to stop if we're going to have
a different set of priorities in our country.
I happen to believe that we need to look at our defense systems
and decide which defense systems we need in order to face the threats
that we face in the 21st century.
Looking at some of these programs out there, such as the Star
Wars program, the missile defense system, I think, frankly, we need a
different set of priorities.
We ought to be investing in the bridges and the highways and the
water systems -- the safe drinking systems in our country here.

DODD: In fact, just five or six days ago, after working a year
and a half on this issue, Keith, I introduced legislation to do
exactly that.
For every $1 billion we spend in that area, 40,000 jobs can be
created in the United States of America.
Those are the things I'll do as president of the United States,
if elected by my party. And I'm confident a Democrat is going to be
elected president of the United States in November of 2008.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Senator Dodd, thank you.
Senator Clinton, by lot, the second question is yours, and it
pertains to the same subject.
9/11, obviously, made us plan for terror prevention. Hurricane
Katrina made us prepare for natural disaster prevention and
preparation. Now, this tragedy in Minneapolis is putting
infrastructure into the news.
In the wake of that tragedy, we already know that you've co-
sponsored legislation to establish a national commission on
infrastructure but, without benefit of hindsight, is our government
actually doing anything better at making us collectively safer?
CLINTON: Well, Keith, I want to thank the AFL-CIO and MSNBC for
having us here. You know, my late father was a fanatic Bears fan, and
the idea that any of his children would be on the 10-yard line in
Soldier Field is an extraordinary accomplishment, as far as I'm
concerned.
(APPLAUSE)
And I am very much in mind of those miners in Utah. And we know,
as Chris said, our hearts and prayers and hopes go with them as this
rescue effort continues.
We have to make investments in infrastructure. It's not only for
the reasons that Chris was talking, as important as they are. This
will create jobs, not only if we once again focus on our bridges, our
tunnels, our ports, our airports, our mass transit. It will put
millions of people to work, but it is also part of homeland security.
We need to have a better infrastructure in order to protect us.
And it's not only the physical infrastructure; it is the virtual
infrastructure, like a national broadband system that our police and
firefighters can actually access and use to be safe.

CLINTON: So I think that we've got to look at this with the
disasters that we see, from the levees in New Orleans to the bridge in
Minneapolis, to what happened to us in New York City on 9/11, as the
highest priority. And it will be at the top of my list when I'm
president.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Clinton.
And, again, please, if you can hold your applause, we can get
more questions in. Thank you kindly, audience.
Senator Obama, if we are not being proactive about everything to
the degree perhaps we should in this country, what do you think we're
not prepared for -- what else are we not prepared for right now?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, I want to welcome everybody to
Chicago, home of the NFC champions, the Chicago Bears.
(APPLAUSE)
And I want to thank the AFL-CIO for organizing this extraordinary
event.
Look, I don't believe that we are safer now than we were after
9/11, because we have made a series of terrible decisions in our
foreign policy. We went into Iraq, a war that we should have never
authorized and should not have been waged.
(APPLAUSE)
It has fanned the flames of anti-American sentiment. It has,
more importantly, allowed us to neglect the situation in Afghanistan.
We know right now, according to the national intelligence estimates,
that Al Qaida is hiding in the hills between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
And, because we have taken our eye off the ball, they are
stronger now than at any time since 2001.
As president, I want us to fight on the right battlefield. And
what that means is getting out of Iraq and refocusing our attention on
the war that can be won in Afghanistan. And that also will allow us
to free up the kinds of resources that will make us safer here at home
because we'll be able to invest in port security, chemical plant
security, all the critical issues that have already been discussed.
OLBERMANN: Senator Obama, thank you.
(APPLAUSE)
Continuing on this subject of infrastructure, Senator Biden, this
is not to direct this personally to you, but the case could be made
that the nation's bridges, perhaps, particularly that one in
Minnesota, have been deteriorating for more or less the period of time
you've spent in the Senate and all of your colleagues have spent with
you there.
Every member of this panel is either a current or former member
of our legislative branch.
You have personally voted on hundreds of funding bills. Did you
guys drop the ball on infrastructure?
BIDEN: I didn't drop the ball. Let me tell you, 1992, I
proposed, as labor knows, a $20 billion infrastructure bill, proposed
by the mayors. We don't need any more studies. Of 560,000 bridges,
27 percent of them are in bad shape.
We -- I have been proposing, since the day after 9/11, that we
spend $980 million to refurbish the tunnels on the East Coast. More
people tomorrow morning will be in Hillary's city, sitting in aluminum
tubes, underneath, in six old tunnels that have no escape, no
lighting, that, in seven -- excuse me -- than in 25 full 747s.
I've been pushing that from day one. My colleagues need to get
on board. We don't need any more studies. We don't need any more
operations. What we need is to put America back to work.
(APPLAUSE)
Put them to work at a prevailing wage. Make us safer as a
consequence of that. And when it comes to determining whether or not
this administration has been responsible, I can hardly wait to debate
Rudy Giuliani on the issue of whether we're safer or not.
The 9/11 Commission -- $42 billion has not been funded -- $42
billion.

BIDEN: These guys, Republicans, have been irresponsible about
our infrastructure, our security, and the safety of this country.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Biden.
Senator Edwards, of course, it's not just -- it's not just money.
It's a question of inconvenience in terms of fixing the American
crumbling infrastructure.
How would you convince Americans that any inconveniences they
would have to suffer -- bridge closures, remodeling a subway system,
as Senator Biden perhaps mentioned there -- in addition to the cost,
how would you convince them that these inconveniences are necessary to
maintaining our infrastructure and making us collectively safer?
EDWARDS: Well, let me say, first, thank you to the AFL-CIO for
hosting this forum. Thank you to all the men and women of organized
labor for what you do every single day for working people in this
country. We're all very proud to be here and proud to have been with
you before tonight in the effort to help working people in this
country.
I actually don't think it's very hard to convince the American
people, given what's happened in Minneapolis, given what's just
happened in the mine in Utah. The American people understand how
serious this is. They want something done about the infrastructure.
But I think the fundamental question is: Who's going to bring
about the change that has not occurred over the last three or four
decades in Washington, D.C.?
Here's my belief. My belief is: We don't want to change one
group of insiders for a different group of insiders. We need to give
the power in America back to you and back to working men and women all
across this country. And I do not believe we will see the kind of
change that we need unless we begin to lead that change.
On Saturday, this past Saturday, I think a very stark contrast
was presented to Democratic voters in this primary: What do you want
to see done? I asked at that debate on Saturday here in Chicago
whether all the Democratic candidates and whether the Democratic Party
would say no from this day forward to Washington insider lobbyist
money. We should say: This game is over; the system is rigged in
Washington, D.C.
EDWARDS: It is not working for you. It is not working for the
American people.
And we're going to stand up to give the power in America back to
you and back to all Americans who deserve it by saying no forever to
lobbyist money in Washington, D.C.
OLBERMANN: Senator Edwards, thank you.
And, by the way, you have given us a foretaste of a conversation
we will be having later on in our forum this evening.
But to continue on infrastructure, Congressman Kucinich, we are
here to night in this beautifully and recently renovated Soldier
Field, partially renovated due to about $400 million in taxpayer
money.
Should state and local -- and in some cases, by proxy anyway --
federal governments subsidize private businesses like sports teams by
building them stadiums, when perhaps that choice is being made at the
expense of infrastructure and bridges?
KUCINICH: I have actually involved in that for many years. Here
is what I said in Cleveland. Instead of spending $400 million or more
for a stadium, why don't we just buy the team?
(LAUGHTER)
(APPLAUSE)
I mean, really, you know, that's where the money is. So I think
that we ought to be talking about an approach that gets people a
return for their investment.
Now, with respect to infrastructure, for the third time I have
introduced a bill. This time it is H.R. 3400. It is a bipartisan
bill. Congressman LaTourette of Ohio is with me on it.
Here is what it will do. It will create millions of new jobs
rebuilding America's infrastructure, rebuilding roads, water systems,
sewer systems, bridges. I have been on this for many years. It will
create jobs for laborers, for iron workers, for carpenters, for people
who are involved in infrastructure -- millions of new jobs, and create
a Federal Bank of Infrastructure Modernization.
Now, the time to talk about infrastructure is a little bit late
after Katrina. It is a little bit late after the bridge has fallen in
Minneapolis. But I've been there and I understand the implication.
Why do you need an infrastructure? You need an infrastructure so
you can create a basis for jobs. I want a new American manufacturing
policy where the maintenance of steel, automotive, aerospace and
shipping is seen as vital to our national security.

KUCINICH: And I want to see America take a new direction in
trade as part of this, and that means it's time to get out of NAFTA
and the WTO...
(APPLAUSE)
... and have trade that's based on workers' rights: the right to
organize, the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike...
OLBERMANN: Congressman?
KUCINICH: ... the right to decent wages and benefits, and on and
on. I'm here as the workers' candidate. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Congressman. And please -- and once
again, we appreciate the applause and we appreciate the sincerity of
your emotions, but the less applause we have, the more questions we
can get in.
And, in this case, I'm going to take one of my discretionary
follow-up questions and ask Senator Obama particularly about this
stadium. You were in the Illinois Legislature when Soldier Field was
funded. You voted for it although you seemed reluctant at the time.
Was it the right call? And give me your answer in 30 seconds.
OBAMA: Absolutely it was the right call because it put a whole
bunch of Illinois folks to work, strong labor jobs were creating in
this stadium and, at the same time, we created an enormous opportunity
for economic growth throughout the city of Chicago. And that's good
for the state of Illinois.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator.
Governor Richardson, there is a push in some parts of this
country to take the next step that we've seen in so many other parts
of government business: sell the toll roads to private companies.
Would that be a better way to fix this problem? Can we really
outsource it, farm it out?
RICHARDSON: No, privatization is not the answer. But let me
just say to all the union members here, I am proud to have gotten your
support: financial and workers in my campaigns. I am here as a
congressman, as a governor, as an elected official because of you.
And I thank you and I will continue taking your financial support.
(LAUGHTER)
Here's one way that I believe we can finance our infrastructure
in this country. I would start out by the Congress eliminating the
$23 billion they put forth for congressional earmarks.

RICHARDSON: I would also ensure that corporate welfare, $73
billion worth, is eliminated as a way to reduce the debt.
But we have to invest in our power grid. We have to invest in
our bridges, in our highways. I was able to do that as governor of
New Mexico, $1.5 billion worth of highway construction to repair our
bridges, to repair our highways, to bring commuter rail.
We have to start thinking about new infrastructure in America.
We have to start thinking about making sure we have strong land use
policies, smart growth. The government should be a partner with the
states and localities in building commuter rail, light rail, new forms
of transportation that -- besides repairing our highways and our
bridges.
OLBERMANN: Governor, thank you.
Let's move on to another important topic for this audience in
particular, the subject of trade. Senator Edwards had touched on
this, Senator Clinton. Over the weekend, this past weekend, you
expressed some disappointment that NAFTA, in your words, did not
realize the benefits that it was promised -- it promised, rather.
How would you fix it?
CLINTON: Well, I have said that for many years, that, you know,
NAFTA and the way it's been implemented has hurt a lot of American
workers. In fact, I did a study in New York looking at the impact of
NAFTA on business people, workers and farmers, who couldn't get their
products into Canada despite NAFTA.

CLINTON: So clearly we have to have a broad reform in how we
approach trade. NAFTA's a piece of it, but it's not the only piece of
it.
I believe in smart trade. I've said that for years. Pro-
American trade; trade that has labor and environmental standards;
that's not a race to the bottom, but tries to lift up not only
American workers but also workers around the world.
It's important that we enforce the agreements we have. That's
why I've called for a trade prosecutor to make sure that we do enforce
them.
The Bush administration has been totally missing in action. They
haven't been enforcing the trade agreements, at all.
It's important that we have good information to make judgments.
And when I looked at some of the trade agreements that the Bush
administration sent our way -- I voted against CAFTA. I don't want to
give fast track authority to this president.
So we've got to have a better approach to what we're going to do
when it comes to trade around the world.

CLINTON: And it's important that we have an idea of how to
maximize the benefits from the global economy, while minimizing the
impact on American workers.
That includes things like real trade adjustment assistance and
other support.
But finally, Keith, we've got to have a source of new jobs.
That's why we've got to invest in energy. We can create millions of
new jobs if we go toward renewable energy.
Those are not jobs that will be outsourced. Those are jobs that
will actually save us money and create jobs right here in America.
OLBERMANN: All right. Thank you, Senator.
We're going to...
(APPLAUSE)
On a couple of occasions tonight, we want everyone on the record
on a particular issue. So let me do this in 30 seconds, and literally
go left to right, with Senator Clinton having already established her
stance on this.
Would you scrap NAFTA or fix it?
Governor Richardson, 30 seconds.
RICHARDSON: We should never have another trade agreement unless
it enforces labor protection, environmental standards and job safety.

RICHARDSON: What we need to do is say that from now on America
will adhere to all international labor standards in any trade
agreement.
No child labor; no slave labor; freedom of association;
collective bargaining, that is critically important; making sure that
no wage disparity exists.
Something else that I will also do. My first day as president I
will get rid of all the union-busting attorneys at the Department of
Labor and OSHA and all our agencies.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Governor Richardson, thank you.
We're not going to contain the applause, I'm afraid. It's going
to come out of my time, I know.
As we continue, scrap NAFTA, Senator Obama, or fix it?
OBAMA: I would immediately call the president of Mexico, the
president of Canada, to try to amend NAFTA, because I think that we
can get labor agreements in that agreement right now.

OBAMA: And it should reflect the basic principle that our trade
agreements should not just be good for Wall Street; it should also be
good for Main Street.
And the problem that we've had is that we've had corporate
lobbyists; oftentimes, involved in negotiating these trade agreements.
But the AFL-CIO hasn't been involved. Ordinary working people have
not been involved.
And we've got to make sure that our agreements are good for
everybody, because globalization right now is creating winners and
losers, but the problem is it's the same winners and the same losers
each and every time.
And we've got to mix it up. And that does mean, by the way, that
you've got to have a president in the White House who is not subject
simply to the whims of corporate lobbyists.
And that issue is going to be something that I think should be
important throughout this campaign: Are we going to make certain that
you have a voice in Washington and not just those who are paying the
big money in Washington to have that opportunity to negotiate?
OLBERMANN: All right. To continue with this in a 30-second
fashion, Senator Biden, scrap NAFTA or fix it?

BIDEN: I hope that red light is going to malfunction for me too.
(LAUGHTER)
Only kidding.
Hey, look, the president's job is to create jobs, not to export
jobs. And the idea that we are not willing to take the prime minister
of Canada and the president of Mexico to the mat to make this
agreement work is just a lack of presidential leadership.
I would lead. I would do that. I would change it.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Biden.
Senator Dodd, scrap it...
BIDEN: In time.
OLBERMANN: Yes, in time. Scrap it or fix it?
DODD: No, I agree it requires modification, but we also need to
do something else here. In addition to having trading agreements that
include labor, environmental health provisions in them and insisting
upon those provisions in any trading agreement here, we need to stop
exporting the jobs in the country that already are here. I offered
legislation -- by banning the outsourcing of jobs -- in the Senate.

DODD: You know, one of the things that labor does that I've
always admired is you listen to the speeches that are given, but one
of the things you've always wanted to know is: "I have a better idea
about where you're going to take me if I know where you've been."
Now, I'm proud to say, for 26 years, on every major issue that
labor's been involved in, I've stood with you. I've stood with labor
and banning the outsourcing of jobs, of offset contracts, of
(inaudible) picketing, of plant-closing legislation. We need to stand
up for the American worker because that's the best way to create the
jobs in the United States.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Senator Dodd, thank you.
Senator Edwards, you touched on this before, but please take 30
seconds. Scrap it or fix it?
EDWARDS: It needs to be fixed, but the first thing I want to say
is: NAFTA is a perfect example of the bigger problem. This deal was
negotiated by Washington insiders, not by anybody in this stadium
tonight.
And the question is: When are we going to change it? It's cost
us a million jobs. We need environmental and labor standards. We
need, actually, the Justice Department prosecuting the standards under
NAFTA.
But the last thing I want to say -- and I want everyone to hear
my voice on this -- the one thing you can count on is you will never
see a picture of me on the front of Fortune magazine saying, "I am the
candidate that big, corporate America is betting on."
That will never happen. That's one thing you can take to the
bank.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Senator Edwards, thank you.
Congressman Kucinich, scrap NAFTA or fix it?
KUCINICH: You asked a direct question. I think it deserves a
direct answer. In my first week in office, I will notify Mexico and
Canada that the United States is withdrawing from NAFTA. I will
notify the WTO we're withdrawing from the WTO.
(APPLAUSE)
We need a president who knows what the right thing is to do the
first time, not in retrospect. And I think that we need to go back to
trade -- excuse me. We need to go forward to trade that's based on
workers' rights, human rights and environmental quality principles.

KUCINICH: No one else on this stage could give a direct answer
because they don't intend to scrap NAFTA. We're going to be stuck
with it.
And I'm your candidate if you want to get out of NAFTA. Let's
hear it. Do you want out of NAFTA? Do you want out of the WTO?
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Congressman?
KUCINICH: Tell these candidates: Listen to the workers. Listen
to the voices of the workers of America.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Congressman, forgive me -- Congressman, forgive me...
KUCINICH: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: ... you're undermining my cause here to try to
contain some of the applause.
We also -- we did have, I believe, Senator Clinton, a veiled
reference to someone on this panel in Senator Edwards' answer. And I
think I'd be remiss if I did not give you an additional 30 seconds to
reply to that.
CLINTON: Well, I am -- I'm just -- I'm just taking it all in.
You know, I've noticed in the last few days that a lot of the other
campaigns have been using my name a lot.
But I'm here because I think we need to change America.

CLINTON: And it's not to get in fights with Democrats. I want
the Democrats to win. And I want a united Democratic Party...
(APPLAUSE)
... that will stand against the Republicans.
(APPLAUSE)
And I will say that, for 15 years, I have stood up against the
right-wing machine. And I've come out stronger.
So if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your
girl.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: I'm just wondering if Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham
Lincoln had a moderator and if he had to try to quiet the crowd down.
(LAUGHTER)
Totally unconnected to that, but back to our original topic,
Senator Obama, the flip side to fair trade, obviously -- if buying
American costs more, and in many cases it does, how do you convince a
working family that's struggling to get by on a tight budget and, in
part, makes makes ends meet using $10 T-shirts for their kids, that
buying American is still best for them, no matter what the price is?

OBAMA: Look, people don't want a cheaper T-shirt if they're
losing a job in the process. They would rather have the job and pay a
little bit more for a T-shirt.
(APPLAUSE)
And I think that's something that all Americans could agree to.
But this raises a larger point, which is globalization is here,
and we should be trading around the world. We don't want to just be
standing still while the rest of the world is out there taking the
steps that it needs to in order to expand trade.
The question is: On whose behalf is the president negotiating?
Is he or she negotiating on behalf of the people in this stadium or
are you only negotiating on behalf of corporate profits?
And that is an important issue, and it is an important
distinction that we have to make.
One other thing that has to be mentioned: Congress has a
responsibility because we've got, right now, provisions in our tax
code that reward companies that are moving jobs overseas instead of
companies that are investing right here in the United States of
America.

OBAMA: And that is a reflection of the degree to which special
interests have been shaping our trade policy. That's something that
I'll end.
OLBERMANN: Senator Obama, thank you.
We're going to try to do this, if we would all stay to 30 seconds
here, to close out this segment on the subject of trade. And I'm also
not going to go along with my friends at NBC Sports who asked me to
mention that the Beijing Olympics starts one year from today.
(LAUGHTER)
But 28 percent of those surveyed -- and we'll just go in order
from Governor Richardson on down -- 28 percent of those surveyed in
the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll perceived China as an ally.
More than half this nation views China as an adversary. Which do
you think it is, ally or adversary, sir?
RICHARDSON: China is a strategic competitor.

RICHARDSON: And we've got to be tougher on China when it comes
to human rights and trade. We've got to say to China, you've got to
stop fooling around with currency; you've got to find ways to be more
sensitive to your workers; you've got to do more, China, in the area
of human rights around the world, like put pressure on the Sudan to
stop the genocide in Darfur.
(APPLAUSE)
But we have to have a relationship with China that is realistic.
We have to have a relationship that involves both strategic
competition and common interest.
Here's what I would do.
OLBERMANN: Governor, I'm going to have to cut you off or we're
not going to be able to get through to everyone in the line here.
Senator Obama, is China an ally or an adversary?
OBAMA: China is a competitor, but they don't have to be an
enemy, as long as we understand that they are going to be negotiating
aggressively for their advantage. And we've got to have a president
in the White House who's negotiating to make sure that we're looking
after American workers.
That means enforcing our trade agreements. It means that, if
they're manipulating their currency, that we take them to the mat on
this issue.

OBAMA: It means that we are also not running up deficits and
asking China to bail us out and finance it, because it's pretty hard
to have a tough negotiation...
(APPLAUSE)
... when the Chinese are our bankers, and that's something that
we're going to have to change.
OLBERMANN: Senator, thank you.
Senator Biden, we have two votes for competitor. Is China an
ally or an adversary?
BIDEN: They're neither. The fact of the matter is, though, they
hold the mortgage on our house.
(APPLAUSE)
This administration, in order to fund a war that shouldn't be
being fought and tax cuts that weren't needed for the wealthy, we're
now in debt almost $1 trillion, a $1 trillion to China.
We better end that war, cut those taxes, reduce the deficit and
make sure that they no longer own the mortgage on our home.
OLBERMANN: Senator Biden, thank you.
(APPLAUSE)
Senator Clinton, China, an ally or an adversary?
CLINTON: I want to say amen to Joe Biden, because he's 100
percent right. You know, six and a half years ago, we had a balanced
budget and a surplus.

CLINTON: Now we are in deep debt with a rising deficit. And it
is absolutely true that George Bush has put it on the credit card,
expecting our children and grandchildren to pay for it.
We've got to get back to fiscal responsibility in order to
undercut the Chinese power over us because of the debt we hold. We
also have to deal with their current manipulation. We have to have
tougher standards on what they import into this country. I do not
want to eat bad food from China or have my children having toys that
are going to get them sick.
(APPLAUSE)
So let's be tough on China going forward.
OLBERMANN: Senator Clinton, thank you.
Senator Dodd?
DODD: Well, again, I'd agree with what's been said here. In
fact, last week I passed legislation out of the committee to deal with
the Chinese currency situation. It's a massive subsidy for them in
terms of disadvantaging our manufacturers here.
And I would say they're competitive, but be careful. It's
getting close to adversary. Let's not have any illusions here.

DODD: China is investing a great deal of its resources in
building up a military capacity. And in the 21st century, we better
recognize here that while they're competitors today, if we're not
careful here, that we could face some serious problems with China in
the latter part of this century.
We need to be insisting, Keith, that for every product or every
ability they -- on our shelves here, we need to be insisting that we
have access to their shelves, to their marketplaces.
(APPLAUSE)
That's not happening. And it needs to stop.
OLBERMANN: Senator, thank you.
Senator Edwards, China, is it an ally or an adversary?
EDWARDS: China is a competitor, but besides all the things that
have been said and needs to be -- these statements are all correct
about them holding American debt, about our trade deficit. No one's
mentioned human rights abuses, but there are huge human rights abuses
going on in China.
But the other thing I want to mention is there's also a trade
safety issue here. What about 2 million toys that have come into the
United States and had to be recalled from China? How about the fact
that we don't have real country-of-origin labeling that the United
States of America actually enforces so the American people know what
they're buying, where it's coming from.
We should have a president of the United States who enforces
country-of-origin labeling. We should have a Consumer Product Safety
Commission that's not looking out for big multinational corporations,
but is actually looking out for the safety of our children here in
America.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Edwards.
Congressman Kucinich?
KUCINICH: The time to worry about China trade was really when
some of my friends up here on the stage actually voted for most
favored nation.
Now, as president, my most favored nation is America.
And I want to say, you know, there was a myth when I was growing
up in Cleveland that if you dig a hole deep enough, you'll get to
China. We're there. And we need to have a president that
understands that...
(APPLAUSE)
... and is ready to take a whole new direction and change trade
with China.
(APPLAUSE)
Thank you very much. A working person's president.
Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Congressman Kucinich, great thanks.
A hint to our candidates, our next topic will be of great
interest to you. The subject will be Iraq after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
OLBERMANN: And we're back at the AFL-CIO forum with our
presidential candidates.
Thank you for your time here on MSNBC.
And, as we promised, the subject is going to be Iraq. And we're
going to go down the line here in 30 seconds, from left to right,
starting with Governor Richardson.
Here's something that an Iowa voter has asked be answered: "If
you get us out of Iraq and somehow Al Qaida takes over anyway, what
will you do then?"
RICHARDSON: I will take whatever steps are necessary to protect
the security of the United States. By withdrawing from Iraq, the real
peace and reconciliation in that country can begin. We can get the
three groups together. We can have an all-Muslim peacekeeping force.
We can have a donor conference to rebuild that country.
And then we can focus on what really affects American foreign
policy: the rights against international terrorists; greenhouse gas
emissions -- reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and, third, a measure
to ensure that there are no dirty bombs and a number of fissionable
material around the world.

OLBERMANN: Governor, thank you.
Senator Obama, that same hypothetical -- and I know it's that,
but this question is asked by a voter in Iowa: "If you get us out of
Iraq, and somehow Al Qaida does take over, what do you do then?"
OBAMA: Look, if we followed my judgment originally, we wouldn't
have been in Iraq.
(APPLAUSE)
We're here now, and we've got no good options. We got bad
options and worse options.
It is my strong belief, and I introduced legislation back in
January, that the only way we're going to stabilize Iraq and make sure
that Al Qaida does not take over in the long term is to begin a phased
redeployment, so that we don't have anti-American sentiment as a focal
point for Al Qaida in Iraq.
We can still have troops in the region, outside of Iraq, that can
help on counterterrorism activities. And we've got to make sure that
they don't establish long-term bases there. But right now, the bases
are in Afghanistan and in the hills between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
That's where we've got to focus.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator.
Senator Biden, what do you do if that hypothetical occurs?
BIDEN: Bush has not told the truth for seven years; it's time we
tell the truth. The truth is, if Iraq -- if Al Qaida establishes a
base in Iraq, all these people who are talking about going into
Pakistan are going to have to send your kids back to Iraq. And so the
fact of the matter is: It matters how we get out of Iraq.

BIDEN: And I am the only one on this stage who has a detailed
political plan how to get out: Separate the parties; let them be in
regions; give them control over their own security; set up a limited
central government; begin to draw down our troops.
But let's start talking the truth to the American people.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Biden.
Senator Clinton, what can we do in that hypothetical?
CLINTON: Well, I have a three-point plan to get out of Iraq,
starting with redeploying our troops, but doing it responsibly and
carefully because, as many of the veterans in this audience know,
taking troops out can be just as dangerous as bringing them in.

CLINTON: And we've got to get out of Iraq smarter than we got
in.
Secondly, we've got to put more pressure on the Iraqi government,
including withholding aid from them if they don't begin to stabilize
the country themselves.
And thirdly, we need an intensive diplomatic effort, regionally
and internationally.
But if it is a possibility that Al Qaida would stay in Iraq, I
think we need to stay focused on trying to keep them on the run as we
currently are doing in Al Anbar province.
OLBERMANN: Senator Dodd, how do you handle this situation where
we get out, you get us out of Iraq, and Al Qaida does, against all
prediction, take over?
DODD: Well, let me take 10 seconds. And, first of all, this
evening there are a lot of young men and women serving in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and whatever your views on policy in Iraq, every one of
us owe them a deep debt of gratitude and appreciation. They haven't
failed, policy has.
How about hearing it for our men and women in uniform?
(APPLAUSE)
I believe and have led on this over the last number of months
here to begin redeploying immediately.

DODD: We can do so with 2.5 divisions coming out each month,
done safely and reasonably well.
We then need to have a robust approach on diplomacy. This
administration has treated state craft and diplomacy as if it were a
gift to our opponents, a sign of weakness.
The United States has been successful, in both Democratic and
Republican administrations, over the years, when we have drawn the
diplomatic arrow out of our quiver here, to make a difference around
the world.
We shouldn't be selling arms to Saudi Arabia while they're
refusing to support us in Iraq.
(APPLAUSE)
We need to have a clear message to everybody in the region that
we want them to be part of the solution.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator.
Senator Edwards, what do we do in that situation, where, against
all of these predictions, Al Qaida nonetheless takes over Iraq after
you get us out of there?
EDWARDS: Well, we have to prepare for that possibility. I can
tell you exactly what I would do as president. As president, I'd draw
40,000 to 50,000 troops out today. I would engage the Iraqi
government and the Sunni leadership, the Sunni and Shia leadership,
into trying to reach some kind of political reconciliation.

EDWARDS: Because, without that, there cannot be security in
Iraq. And then we need to make a serious, intense, diplomatic effort.
We'll bring the Iranians and the Syrians and the others in the region
in helping provide stability in Iraq.
And we have to prepare for the possibility -- which George Bush
has never done -- that things may actually go bad. That means we've
got to be prepared to control a civil war if it starts to spill
outside the borders of Iraq.
And we've got to be prepared for the worst possibility that you
never hear anyone talking about, which is the possibility that
genocide breaks and the Shia try to systematically eliminate the
Sunni.
As president of the United States, I would plan and prepare for
all those possibilities.
OLBERMANN: Senator Edwards, thank you.
Congressman Kucinich, what do you do if an Iraq post-America --
post-American -- in a Kucinich administration -- is influenced or
controlled by Al Qaida?
KUCINICH: Keith, we need to get out of Iraq and get out of Iraq
now. And I will plan to do just that. Congress has -- the Democratic
Congress has the ability to tell President Bush, "You got $97 billion
six weeks ago. Use that money to bring the troops home and set in
motion an international security and peacekeeping force that would
stabilize Iraq."
I'm the only one here on the stage who had the vision and the
foresight to not only vote against the war, but also vote against
funding for the war.

KUCINICH: People want a president who makes the right decision
the first time, and the right decision was never to go in there, and
I'm going to get those troops home, and I'll keep the pressure up on
the Democratic Congress, and I ask for your help.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Congressman Kucinich, thank you.
Pertaining to the subject of the votes and the authorization,
Senator Obama, this is a question I've been meaning to ask you since,
I guess, the night this occurred.
Why did it take so long to hear how you were going to vote on the
subject of that war supplemental on May 24th? We didn't learn until
that evening, when you actually cast your vote. Why is that the case?
OBAMA: Well, because the fact is that it is difficult to send a
message to the president, who has been so obstinate for so long. All
of us on this stage want to make sure that our troops are funded, and
all of us believe that we need to be orderly and careful in bringing
them out.
My hope was that we would start seeing some progress among the
Republicans, where they would begin to agree with us on a timetable to
withdraw.

OBAMA: We have convinced some people, including some folks on
this stage, that this was a mistake and that it was important for us
to start drawing troops down.
But apparently we have not convinced enough Republicans. And, at
that point, it was my belief that the only way we could send a strong
signal to the president to make sure that he came back to the table
was to vote no on that supplemental.
But understand this, Keith, unless we can change the minds of
some additional Republicans who are responsible for continuing to hand
the keys of the car to the president on this issue, we are going to
have to wait until I am president of the United States.
And when I do, I promise you, my first act will be calling
together the Joint Chiefs of Staff and give them a mission to bring
our troops home so that we can start stabilizing Iraq, but also focus
on the war on terrorism that's out there right now.

OLBERMANN: Thank you, sir.
I have a follow-up for Senator Clinton. It is essentially the
same question, about the vote on May 24th, with the note that you
voted after Senator Obama had voted.
CLINTON: Well, you know, Keith, this is George Bush's war. He
rushed us to war. He has mismanaged the war.
But these are our sons and daughters who are serving in this war.
And I had to think very long and hard, because clearly I do not want
to do anything that undercuts our support for them.
But finally I just concluded that the only way to get a message
to the Republicans and to George Bush was to vote against the
supplemental funding.
And it isn't an easy vote, and you could actually argue it either
way.
Those of us who were in the Senate, I think all acted sincerely
and out of good faith, trying to figure out what was best for our
country.
But, at the end of the day, I have concluded we've got to force
George Bush to begin to end the war that he took America into and save
our young men and women and bring them home.

OLBERMANN: Senator Clinton, thank you.
Senator Dodd, last week you had said that Senator Obama, quoting
you, "His assertions about foreign and military affairs have been,
frankly, confusing and confused."
You added, "He should not be making unwise categorical statements
about military options."
What, in your opinion, has been confusing?
DODD: Well, let me say on these matters here, I spent 26 years
on the Foreign Relations Committee dealing with these matters; almost
every major foreign policy debate.
Words mean things. We've got to be very careful about language
that is used in terms of the danger and harm it can do to our nation.
My view was, when issues were being raised about Pakistan,
understand that while General Musharraf is no Thomas Jefferson, he may
be the only thing that stands between us and having an Islamic
fundamentalist state in that country.
So while I would like to see him change, the reality is: If we
lose him then what we face is an alternative that could be a lot worse
for our country.
I think it is highly irresponsible of people who are running for
the presidency and seek that office to suggest we may be willing
unilaterally to invade a nation here that we are trying to get to be
more cooperative with us in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
So my views, and I say this respectfully to my friend from
Illinois here, I think it was wrong to say what he did in that matter.
I think it is important for us to be very careful about the
language we use; make it clear that if this United States is going to
build relationships around the world, we're going to have to do so
with allies -- in some cases, allies that we might not particularly
like.

OLBERMANN: Senator Dodd, thank you.
OBAMA: First...
(CROSSTALK)
OLBERMANN: Senator Obama, yes, you've taken some hits here from
us. So yours is the last word on this subject.
OBAMA: Well, look, I find it amusing that those who helped to
authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our
generation are now criticizing me...
(APPLAUSE)
... for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not
the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism.
(APPLAUSE)
Chris, respectfully -- and you and I are close friends -- but the
fact is: You obviously didn't read my speech. Because what I said
was that we have to refocus, get out of Iraq, make certain that we are
helping Pakistan deal with the problem of Al Qaida in the hills
between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

OBAMA: But, Chris, if we have actionable intelligence on Al
Qaida operatives, including bin Laden, and President Musharraf cannot
act, then we should. Now, I think that's just common sense.
OLBERMANN: Senator...
(APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: I don't know about you, but for us to authorize the place
where the people who attack -- where the people who attacked 3,000
presidents were not present, which you authorized, and then to suggest
that somehow we should not focus on the folks that did...
OLBERMANN: Senator Obama, we're well over.
OBAMA: ... attack 3,000 Americans, I think is a problem.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: We're well over time.
Senator Clinton, I must ask for your -- Senator Clinton?
(APPLAUSE)
Senator Clinton, give me your response to this. I'm going to
give you both a chance here. But, Senator Clinton, please give me
your response to what we're hearing tonight.
CLINTON: Well, I do not believe people running for president
should engage in hypotheticals and it may well be that the strategy
that we have to pursue on the basis of actionable intelligence -- but,
remember, we've had some real difficult experiences with actionable
intelligence -- might lead to a certain action.
But I think it is a very big mistake to telegraph that, and to
destabilize the Musharraf regime which is fighting for its life
against the Islamist extremists who are in bed with Al Qaida and
Taliban.

CLINTON: And remember: Pakistan has nuclear weapons. The last
thing we want is to have Al Qaida-like followers in charge of Pakistan
and having access to nuclear weapons.
So, you can think big, but remember you shouldn't always say
everything you think if you're running for president, because it has
consequences across the world. And we don't need that right now.
(AUDIENCE BOOING)
OLBERMANN: Senator Dodd -- I owe Senator Dodd a response.
Your name was invoked in several of these answers. Please, take
30 seconds here.
DODD: Well, I just want to say, look -- Barack, you know, I
certainly said, look, I made a mistake in that vote in 2002. I don't
deny that.
But when you make a mistake, as you run on something like this --
I think if I had the courage, I made a mistake on the vote in 2002.
If you're making a mistake today, you ought to stand up and say so.
It was a mistake in my view to suggest somehow that going in
unilaterally here, into Pakistan, was somehow in our interest. That,
I think, is dangerous. And I don't retreat from that at all.
OBAMA: This came back to me and...

OLBERMANN: All right, Senator.
Senator Obama, 30 seconds and then I have to stop this.
OBAMA: I did not say that we would immediately go in
unilaterally. What I said was that we have to work with Musharraf,
because the biggest threat to American security right now are in the
northwest provinces of Pakistan. And that we should continue to give
him military aid contingent on him doing something about that.
But the fact of the matter is that when we don't talk to the
American people -- we're debating the most important foreign policy
issues that we face, and the American people have the right to know.
It is not just Washington insiders that are part...
(APPLAUSE)
... of the debate that has to take place with respect to how
we're going to shift our foreign policy. This is a...
OLBERMANN: Senator, I have to end this segment here, because we
are -- we are...
(CROSSTALK)
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: We have standing by -- and, in this case, it is meant
literally -- the questioners from the AFL-CIO audience, who are
stepping to the microphone and they will be giving you their questions
when we rejoin you from Soldier Field after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
OLBERMANN: Seven candidates in the running for the Democratic
presidential nomination joining us here at Soldier Field in Chicago
where they will now take questions from the members of our audience,
the members of the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions.
For this segment, responses, please, will be limited to 60
seconds. And follow-up answer to any further questions would remain
at 30 seconds -- and all of us here tonight keenly aware of the race
against time in Huntington, Utah, as rescuers attempt to locate the
six trapped miners there.
And with them in all of our thoughts, we'd like to turn the floor
over to Deborah Hamner of Buckhannon, West Virginia, whose husband,
George Jr. Hamner was one of those killed in last year's accident at
the Sago mine.
Mrs. Hamner, you have the condolences of all of us up on this
stage. And you also have our first question of this segment, which
will go to Senator Biden.
DEBORAH HAMNER, WIFE OF SAGO MINE VICTIM: My husband, George Jr.
Hamner was one of the 12 men who were killed in the Sago mine last
year. It's happening again, right now, with the six trapped miners in
Utah.
I feel that the Bush administration has failed workers like my
husband by rolling back dozens of important workplace protections.

HAMNER: My question is: As president, what will you do to
improve the health and safety in our coal mines and all of our
workplaces across America?
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Mrs. Hamner.
Senator Biden?
(APPLAUSE)
BIDEN: Ma'am, I'm sorry about -- I understand what it's like to
lose a spouse, and it's not an easy thing. And my heart goes out to
you.
I would implement every one of the recommendations that have been
already made and they've not been implemented. The president of the
United Mine Workers is sitting down there. He's forgotten more about
this than most of us know.
But, folks, I've got to say something here. Everyone's entitled
to their own opinion, but not their own facts. The truth of the
matter is, none of which you heard earlier is correct. It's already
the policy of the United States -- has been for four years -- that
there's actionable intelligence, we would go into Pakistan. That's
the law.
Secondly, it's already the law -- that I wrote into the law --
saying that if, in fact, we don't get cooperation from Musharraf, we
cut off his money.

BIDEN: It's time everybody start to know the facts -- the facts.
OLBERMANN: Senator Biden, thank you.
Our next question is going to go to Congressman Kucinich. It
comes from Shirley Brown (ph) from here in Chicago.
Mr. Brown?
QUESTION: Good evening.
I worked for Resurrection Hospital in the Chicago area for over
11 years. My coworkers and I have been trying to form a union.
Resurrection has challenged us every step of the way. Even eight of
my coworkers have been fired who supported the union.
I want to know: What would you do to restore the rights of
workers like myself who want to form a union?
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Ms. Brown.
Congressman?
KUCINICH: It'll be very easy to predict where I'll come from,
because I am a member of the AFL-CIO, Local 600 of the IATSE.

KUCINICH: I have been -- I have been working with unions my
whole life. The right to organize is a basic right in a democratic
society.
And in a workers' White House under a Kucinich administration,
the right to organize, the right to collective bargaining, the right
to strike, the right to decent wages and benefits, the right to a safe
workplace, the right to a secure retirement, the right to participate
in the political process, these are all basic rights that will be the
hallmark of a presidency by Kucinich.
Thank you.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Congressman.
Our next question will be for Governor Richardson. It's coming
from an Iraq war veteran, Jim McGovern of Gwinn, Michigan.
Jim?
QUESTION: Hello.
After serving in Iraq for a year, I came home, to find that my
factory job at Maytag had closed and moved to Mexico. That's not what
I was hoping for when I came from war.
I was making good wages and benefits, and it was devastating to
me and my family and our community.

QUESTION: And after three years, it still is. What would you do
to keep manufacturing jobs like mine from leaving the country?
OLBERMANN: Jim, thank you for your question. Thank you for your
service.
Governor?
RICHARDSON: I was just in your town. It's Newton, Iowa. And I
met with many workers that lost those Maytag jobs.
I would protect their pensions from this restructuring. I would
protect their health care. What I would ensure that you have in the
future is job protection, OSHA protection.
What I would also say to you as an Iraq war veteran, when you
come home, I will have guarantees to protect our veterans to fully
fund VA hospitals, to deal with the issues like mental health and PTSD
for thousands of our Iraqi and Afghanistan vets coming home.
And something else I will do for all veterans. Today, you've got
to get your health care at the VA. Sometimes, it's 170 miles away.
They're understaffed, they're not fully funded. I would guarantee
funding for those VA hospitals.
But I would also give you a hero's health card, so that you and
Iraqi, Afghanistan, all veterans can get health care in America
anywhere you want. Anywhere you want.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Governor, thank you.
Not everyone from the AFL-CIO who wanted to pose a question could
come here.

OLBERMANN: Many of them are at work.
So by the Internet, for Senator Dodd, from a patriot in Ohio, a
member of an AFL-CIO affiliated union, let me read the question,
Senator: "My 21-year-old daughter joined the Army Reserves after high
school at the age of 19. She is currently a sergeant in the Army and
is serving her tenth month in Iraq.
"With all the billions of dollars being spent on the war, I want
to know why my daughter was forced to buy some of her own required
uniform and other gear the Army didn't supply her.
"Also, in every war, active duty military normally were deployed
for six months overseas. Why is the Active Reserve required to spend
more than double this time in Iraq?"

DODD: Well, first of all, thank you. I believe I'm the only
candidate on this stage who actually served in the National Guard and
Reserves back in the 1960s and '70s, so I have some understanding and
feeling of what it means to be in uniform.
Over the last four years, I've offered on four different
occasions on the floor of the United States Senate -- my colleagues
are aware of this -- efforts to see that body armor and equipment
would be available for our troops on the ground in Iraq and
Afghanistan. And on four individual occasions, I was rebuffed by
Republicans in the United States Senate.
This baloney about how they care for our troops in Iraq when they
wouldn't be willing to stand up and provide the kind of protection
they deserve is something I would never, ever, tolerate as president
of the United States. Our soldiers deserve to get the best we have to
offer. Not the Army they have; the very best they deserve. Certainly
that family is a class example of it.
OLBERMANN: Senator Dodd, thank you. Our next question will be
for Senator Edwards from Steve Scabbarra (ph) of Indiana, and I
apologize for making you wait so long, sir.
QUESTION: Not a problem.

QUESTION: After 34 years with LTV Steel I was forced to retire
because of a disability. Two years later, LTV filed bankruptcy. I
lost a third of my pension and my family lost their health care.
Every day of my life I sit at the kitchen table across from the
woman who devoted 36 years of her life to my family and I can't afford
to pay for her health care.
What's wrong with America and what will you do to change it?
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Senator Edwards?
EDWARDS: Bless you, first of all, for what you've been through.
You've a perfect example of exactly what's wrong with America, both on
pension protection and on health care. And we've, unfortunately, not
been able to do the things that need to be done in this country.
I have a very simple view about this. My view is that we ought
to treat the pensions and the retirement of the chairmen and CEOs of
companies exactly the way we treat every other worker in the company.

(APPLAUSE)
EDWARDS: That's what we ought to be doing.
(APPLAUSE)
And we ought to have universal health care in this country. We
need it in the worst kind of way, so that when you're bargaining,
you're not bargaining about health care costs.
But I will say one other thing. I intend to be the president of
the United States who walks onto the White House lawn and explains to
America how important unions and organized labor is to the future and
the economic security of this country.
It is fine to come up on this stage and give a nice talk. The
question is: Who's been with you in the crunch?
In the last two years, 200 times, I have walked picket lines. I
have helped organize thousands of workers, with 23 national unions. I
have worked with employers.

EDWARDS: Here's what you need to ask yourself...
OLBERMANN: Senator? Senator, we're out of time.
(CROSSTALK)
EDWARDS: Let me finish this. It's going to get tough...
(APPLAUSE)
It's going to get tough, but who was with you in crunch time?
Because if we were with you at crunch time, we will be with you when
crunch time comes for you and all of organized labor. That's the
question you have to ask yourself...
OLBERMANN: Senator?
EDWARDS: ... who will stand with you when it really matters?
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Edwards.
Senator Clinton, we have an Internet question that relates to the
same topic. It was sent in by someone who identifies themselves
merely as "union lifer."
"How can you reassure people who have rightfully earned a pension
that they will be able to take advantage of that benefit without
descending into poverty?"
CLINTON: Well, I want to thank all the questioners. You've been
-- those of you watching on TV have seen a real snapshot of all of the
problems in America.
The pension system is broken. We've got to stop companies going
into bankruptcy in order to get rid of their pension responsibilities.
(APPLAUSE)
We have to have defined benefit pension plans again. We've got
to make sure that nobody ever tries to privatize Social Security,
something that I fought tooth and nail, with many of you to prevent.
(APPLAUSE)
And I want to quickly say to the woman who lost her husband at
the Sago mine: Chris Dodd and I were on the committee that passed
some very good laws. The problem is: We have an administration that
doesn't want to enforce those laws.
When I am president, we'll have a Department of Labor that
actually cares about labor. And when it comes to organizing at
Resurrection Hospital, I will be the president who signs the Employee
Free Choice Act.

(APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: We will rebuild our manufacturing sector because you
cannot have a strong government and economy and society without
manufacturing. I am proud to be the New York AFL-CIO's favorite
sister because of all the work that I have done with our unions in New
York and I will take that same commitment to the White House.
OLBERMANN: Senator, thank you.
Senator Obama, the next question will be for you from our
audience from Jorge Millesano (ph). Mr. Millesano? (ph)
QUESTION: I am from Argentina. Six months ago, I proudly became
a citizen of this great country.
(APPLAUSE)
My concern is for those undocumented workers that established
roots here.
And my question would be: In your future, if you're going to
create a path to the citizenship for those workers...
OLBERMANN: Congratulations, Mr. Millesano (ph).
Senator?
OBAMA: First of all, congratulations. We're so proud that you
are now a part of the American family. And I look forward -- and I
want your vote -- your first vote cast.

QUESTION: Thank you. I will. I will. I can't wait.
(APPLAUSE)
I can't wait.
OBAMA: Look, I think it's possible for us to be a nation of laws
and a nation of immigrants. That's what we've always been, and that's
what we have top continue to be.
And that's why I've worked in the Senate and will work hard as
president to make sure that we've got comprehensive immigration reform
that has strong border security. We need to make sure that it's
orderly, that we don't have thousands of people pouring over our
borders or overstaying our visas.
But we also have to make sure that employers are held
accountable.
(APPLAUSE)
Because right now, employers are taking advantage of undocumented
workers. They don't have benefits.

OBAMA: They don't -- aren't paying the minimum wage. That is
equally important. They've got to be held accountable. And, finally,
we've got to give a pathway to citizenship. But people have to earn
it. They're going to have to pay a fine. They've got to make sure
that they're learning English. They've got to go to the back of the
line so that they're not rewarded for having broken the law.
(APPLAUSE)
If we do those things, then I think that it's possible for us to
bring together the country, instead of seeing the country continually
divided.
One last thing I've got to say. John said something important,
and that is, "You want to look to see where people have been to know
where they're going."
You know, just a few miles down from here is where the LTV plant
used to be.
And I originally came to Chicago to work with a community
organization, with churches and with unions to deal with laid-off
steel workers. Resurrection, I've worked with you and marched on your
picket lines. Everybody in this stadium knows the work I've done with
Illinois labor and that's what I want to do all across the country.
OLBERMANN: Senator...
OBAMA: So thank you so much, everybody.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator.
Senator Biden, the next question will be for you. Barbara
Janusiak (ph) has come in from Milwaukee for it.

OLBERMANN: Barbara, please?
QUESTION: As a nurse, I live with the failures of the American
health care system daily. We don't have enough nurses to staff our
hospitals. There are millions of unemployed -- well, that, too -- but
millions of uninsured. And even those who are ensured do not get the
care that they need because they're either denied coverage or the
costs are too high.
As president, how would you address these issues?
BIDEN: The first thing I'd do is let you know I know what it's
like. I spent seven months in the hospital with a couple cranial
aneurysms and a major embolism. If there's any nurses -- if there's
any angels in heaven, they're all nurses, I can assure you that.
Number one.
(APPLAUSE)
Number two, I think we need -- and others agree with me up here
-- we need not 100,000 new cops, which is the bill I wrote, but
100,000 new nurses that we fund, we fund in order to make things
better.
Number three, we have to be in a position where we don't let the
enemy become the -- excuse me, the perfect become the enemy of the
good.

BIDEN: In the first year, I would insure every single, solitary
child in America and make sure catastrophic insurance exists for every
single person in America, while we move toward a national health care
system covering anybody.
And in terms of walking the walk -- let's make something clear
here. For 34 years, I've walked with you in picket lines. Twenty-
five years ago, with Reverend Jackson, he and I walked on picket lines
together. And the fact of the matter is, it's not where you've been
the last two years. Where were you the six years you were in the
Senate? How many picket lines did you walk on? How many times --
look at our records. Look at our records.
There is no one on this stage -- mainly because of my longevity
-- that has a better labor record than me. The question is, did you
walk when it cost? Did you walk when you were from a state that is
not a labor state? Did you walk when the corporations in your state
were opposed to you? That's the measure of whether we'll be with you
when it's tough, not when you're running for president in the last two
years, marching on 20 or 30 or 50 picket lines.
OLBERMANN: Senator Biden, thank you. I have another Internet
question. It's for Congressman Kucinich, from Diana in Cookeville,
Tennessee.
And she writes: "I lost my job last year because the plant
closed. I tried to get a permanent job to get health insurance, but
the only thing I can find is temporary where there is no health
insurance. I'm 60 years old, too young to retire. We need health
care for every citizen in the USA. What can you do about this
problem?"
KUCINICH: I've already introduced the bill.

KUCINICH: I'm the co-author of a bill, H.R. 676...
(APPLAUSE)
... to provide for universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health
care, Medicare for all.
Isn't it time to cover every American with a not-for-profit
system?
Furthermore, 46 million Americans without any health care, 50
million Americans uninsured -- you know and I know, this is the issue
at the bargaining table.
With my plan, no more premiums, no more co-pays, no more
deductibles.
(APPLAUSE)
We're already paying for a universal standard of care. We're not
getting it. Let's take health care off the bargaining table and put
it right in the kitchen, where people have the care, with a Kucinich
plan for universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care.
Thank you.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Congressman Kucinich, thank you.

OLBERMANN: I am going to stray from our schedule here. Senator
Edwards, your name was invoked at least by inference by Senator Biden.
Would you like to respond in 30 seconds?
EDWARDS: Yes, I mean every president of a union who is here
today and their members here knows exactly where I have been. Two-
hundred times I have walked on picket lines. I was on a picket line
on Saturday. I was on a picket line on Sunday. I have been in
organizing campaigns all over this country.
Here is the America that I believe in. I believe in an America
where anyone who works hard is able to earn a decent wage. I believe
in an America where somebody who works hard doesn't have to worry
about whether their child has health care. I believe in an America
where anybody who has been with a company for 20 years has a pension
and it can't be taken away. And, finally, I believe in an America
where if you have to go out on strike, no scab can walk through that
picket line and take your job away from you.
(APPLAUSE)
That's what kind of America I believe in and that's the kind of
America I will lead as president of the United States.

OLBERMANN: Senator Edwards, you're from a right-to-work state,
though, are you not? In 15 seconds, are you not from a right-to-work
state?
EDWARDS: I am. And I've been -- I have been a leader on the
issues of organized labor and the issues of labor unions for years and
years and years, even though I'm from a state that has a very -- just
like Joe, and he deserves credit for that -- I'm from a state that has
a very small organized labor contingent.
But I want to say something about this: The reason that it's so
important to have a president of the United States who understands the
importance of organized labor, not just the politics, not just for
political support, but understands and is willing to speak to America
about the critical importance of organized labor in the long-term
economic security of all Americans, not just those who are in labor
unions now.
Labor unions have built the middle-class in this country. The
American people need to hear and understand that.
OLBERMANN: Thank you.
I have to -- Senator Dodd is -- I've got people waiting to ask
this next question of Senator Dodd.

BIDEN: (OFF-MIKE) in 1999, 1998, 1997...
OLBERMANN: Senator, let me get some of these good people their
questions.
It's for Senator Dodd -- Bob Flynn (ph) from Chicago.
Bob?
QUESTION: Yes, I'm a union insulator. We work building
buildings, making them energy efficient. Unfortunately, many
companies don't invest in energy-efficient products even though, in
the long-run, they'll save money.
If you're president, what policies would you implement to make
businesses invest in energy-efficient technologies to stop our
reliances on foreign oil and help our environment?
OLBERMANN: Senator Dodd?
DODD: Great question. Let me just say one quick thing, you
know, on this health care issue.

DODD: Every member of Congress up here has a pretty good health
care plan. I want Americans to have as good a health care plan as
members of Congress have.
Regarding this issue here, look, on energy issues here, I believe
very strongly that we all share the same goals up here. But I stand
for having an 80 percent reduction in CO2 by the year 2080, we do so
by setting a mile-per-gallon standard of 50 miles per gallon by the
year 2017.
There were automobiles produced back in 1983 that got 43 miles
per gallon. We can do a lot better.
I would tax those who pollute. I would use the money from that
to invest in the alternative technologies of wind and solar and
ethanol and other biofuels that would make it possible for us to
become independent.
There's no other gift that you and I could give to our children
and our grandchildren that could be more important than having an
independent energy policy, utilizing the technologies and ideas that
exist in this country.

DODD: It ought to be a priority for us to do so, to improve our
health, to create jobs, and to lessen the kind of national security
problems we face all over the world because of oil interests.
OLBERMANN: Senator...
DODD: I stand for it. And, as president, I'll fight for it.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Dodd.
I have a final -- I have an Internet question for you, Senator
Clinton, if you can stand by for this, from Shirley Thorpe (ph) in
Schaumburg who is a member of Local 1211 of the IFT/AFT. And it is
relevant because this is coming up for reauthorization next month.
She asks, "What specific changes to the No Child Left Behind do
you believe must be made?"
(APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: OK, in 30 seconds, let me take 15 seconds to answer the
previous gentleman's question. I believe that I have supported a
green building fund and green collar job training with the AFL-CIO
that will put a lot of people to work like the insulator who just
asked that question. And it's important that we do this because we
can create millions of new jobs.
Specifically, with No Child Left Behind, it has been a terrible
imposition on teachers and school districts and families and students.

(APPLAUSE)
(AUDIENCE MEMBER SHOUTS OFF-MIKE)
CLINTON: And part of it is because it was not funded. It was an
unfunded mandate. And part of it is that the Department of Education
under President Bush did not absolutely enforce it and interpret it in
the right way.
So we need growth models for students. We need broader
curriculum. We need to make sure that when we look at our children,
we don't just see a little walking test. We've got to have a total
change in No Child Left Behind.
OLBERMANN: Senator Clinton, thank you.
The next set of questions will be coming from a Mr. Keith O. of
New York. A lightning round -- still said with great caution -- comes
up after this break. Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
OLBERMANN: From Soldier Field in Chicago, in time to speed
things up for what turns out to be the last 15 minutes, we have been
granted an additional five minutes, unless anybody has anything they'd
rather be doing here.
This is our lightning round. Again, it is a doubtful phrase, but
it is still probably better than the alternative suggestion which was
"speed dating." As befits the name, please limit your responses to 30
seconds. I will begin with Governor Richardson.
What would your job description be for your vice president?
RICHARDSON: My vice president would not be Dick Cheney.
(APPLAUSE)
In fact, I would not have -- my vice president would be a member
of the executive branch.
What I would also say is that my vice president has to have the
abilithy to step into the presidency. More than any other reason,
that would be the reason to select a vice presidential candidate. In
fact, I think any of these here on the stage would be an excellent
vice president.
OLBERMANN: Governor Richardson, thank you.
Continuing the lightning round, Senator Clinton, this past
Saturday you defended taking money from lobbyists.

OLBERMANN: And the quote was this, "A lot of those lobbyists,
whether you like it or not, represent real Americans. They actually
do."
Why, though, do these lobbyists make more money, by and large,
than average Americans?
CLINTON: Well, you know, Keith, I believe we've got to have
fundamental reform in Washington. I'm in favor of it, especially
after Bush and Cheney and Rove, to clean up what they're leaving
behind, to end the no-bid contracts, the revolving door in government.
I think it's absolutely essential that, you know, we get rid of
all of the contracting out of government jobs, which has really
undermined the quality of services.
(APPLAUSE)
But, you know, I think it is also the case that I have fought for
all of these issues against a lot of special interests for a very long
time. I fought the drug companies and the insurance companies in '93
and '94. I fought them again on the Medicare prescription drug
benefit.
I fought the banks on bankruptcy reform.
OLBERMANN: Senator...
CLINTON: So I think that...
OLBERMANN: ... you're past...
CLINTON: ... my record on standing up and fighting for people
really speaks for itself.

OLBERMANN: Thirty seconds.
Senator Obama, I know you and Senator Edwards have taken a firm
stand against accepting money from lobbyists, yet you allow them to
raise money for you and, as the phrase goes, "Bundle it."
What's the difference between those things?
OBAMA: No, no. I do not have federal registered lobbyists
bundling for me, just like I don't take PAC money.
(APPLAUSE)
And the reason that's important is because the people in this
stadium need to know who we are going to fight for.
And I want to be absolutely clear that the reason I'm in public
life, the reason I came to Chicago, the reason I started working with
unions, the reason I march on picket lines, the reason that I'm
running for president is because of you...
(APPLAUSE)
... not because of the folks who are writing big checks. And
that's a clear message that has to be sent, I think, by every
candidate.
OLBERMANN: Senator Obama, thank you for your correction.
Senator Edwards, I have a question for you. You made your
substantial fortune as a trial lawyer. Trial lawyers are now
contributing significantly to your campaign.
How is that any better than lobbyists?
EDWARDS: It's very different because what's happened is, the
lobbyists in Washington, D.C. are the people whose job it is to rig
this system against all of you.

EDWARDS: They do it every single day. They get paid to do it.
And the difference, by the way, between them and lawyers is,
lawyers go into courtrooms doing exactly the same thing, speaking to a
jury -- but when lawyers give money to the jury who are making the
decisions, that's called a bribe. When lobbyists go to members of
Congress and give money to them, that's called politics.
The question is, are we actually going to bring an end to this?
Are we going to stop it? You're being outspent 18-1 by big
multinational corporate lobbyists in Washington, D.C.
What I believe is America needs change, and I think the
Democratic Party -- we don't need lobbyists in Washington, D.C.
OLBERMANN: Senator?
EDWARDS: We need the Democratic Party to stand up for working
men and women, and we need a president of the United States who will
stand up for working men and women.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Edwards.
Senator Biden, if we are in as dire shape or anywhere near it
internationally in terms of counterterror, would you treat this as a
wartime situation, would you go bipartisan if you were president of
the United States, would you appoint a Republican to run either the
Department of Homeland Security or the Pentagon?

BIDEN: The answer is, I would consider that.
The fact of the matter is: The next president of the United
States is going to have to bring this country together. We are not
blue and red. We cannot be sustained that way. We cannot get health
care. We cannot get a foreign policy. We cannot do anything with a
51 percent solution.
Every one of the things we talked about here requires a
consensus.
And if you don't have the experience that I have and the success
I've had reaching across the aisle, what makes you think you're going
to get a national health care plan? What makes you think you're going
to have an education plan? What makes you think you're going to have
a rational foreign policy?
The answer is, I would consider the most competent people I
could, and I would try my best to reach across the aisle to reasonable
people to unite this country. It needs to be united.
OLBERMANN: Senator Biden, thank you.
Senator Dodd, there have been no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil
since 9/11. Does that mean that the creation of the Department of
Homeland Security was a good idea?

DODD: Well, no, I don't -- the Department of Homeland Security
is far too large, in my view, and of course, the efforts to deprive
people to be able to organize into that department was one of the
great tragedies in my view here.
People ought to be allowed to organize, collectively bargain and
a department of employees -- homeland employees in our country here.
And, certainly, I happen to believe that we're not safer today.
Even though we have not had an attack on our own soil, tell that to
the people in Iraq, tell that to the people in Afghanistan, tell that
to people around the world.
Terrorism is a real issue. It's going to require a collective
effort on behalf of our nation, working with others, to make a
difference.
Terrorism is a tactic; it's not a philosophy. And it's going to
require an inordinate amount of cooperation to solve that.
Having the kind of first responders at home, like the
firefighters and police and EMS services that have the tools and the
ability to stand up and defend our country, has not been funded. So
while we haven't been attacked, I think we're vulnerable today, more
so than we were right after 9/11.

OLBERMANN: Senator Dodd, thank you.
Congressman Kucinich, we have many members of Congress, and all
of you have been there at one point in your careers. What have you
accomplished in this current session? What have you and your
Democratic colleagues changed since the mid-term elections last fall?
KUCINICH: First of all, you know, my position is to try to lead
the Democrats. And so I have a bill for a not-for-profit health care
where I've been able to get 72 members of Congress to sign on for it.
I have a bill to create an infrastructure, to rebuild America.
I'm lobbying members of Congress for that. I have a bill to get us
out of Iraq. I'm lobbying members of Congress for that.
I frankly believe that the Democratic Congress took a major
responsibility in November of 2006 to get out of Iraq. They haven't
kept that promise yet. And I'm working all the time to try to get the
Democrats to keep that promise to bring our troops home.
I've been there for every single piece of legislation, health
care, retirement security, jobs. And I'm going to be there to keep
pushing the envelope to get us out of Iraq.
OLBERMANN: Congressman...
KUCINICH: And we shouldn't have to wait for a Democratic
president to do it.

KUCINICH: The Democratic Congress needs to act now.
OLBERMANN: Congerssman Kucinich, thank you.
Senator Obama, were you president of the United States today,
would you honor Barry Bonds at the White House?
(APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: Well, first of all, he has still got to hit one more, and
it has been taking a while. I had the opportunity to meet Hank Aaron
just this past weekend. It reminded me of what sports should be, and
that is something that young people can look up to.
Now, Barry Bonds is a remarkable baseball player and I honor his
achievement. But I hope that all of us are focused on making sure
that sports is something that kids can look up to, not something that
they start feeling cynical about. We've got enough cynicism in
politics without having cynicism in our sports teams as well.
OLBERMANN: Was that a no, sir, or a yes?
OBAMA: He hasn't done it yet, so we will answer the question
when it comes.
OLBERMANN: Senator Clinton, it has been nearly two years now
since Hurricane Katrina. What is the first thing you would do as
president to improve the recovery in New Orleans?
CLINTON: Well, the first thing I would do is put somebody in
charge who actually cared about the people of New Orleans and the Gulf
Coast and be willing to really do what it took.

CLINTON: You know, I outlined a 10-point plan. We only have 30
seconds. I can't say it in 30 seconds. But briefly, it is: Put
somebody in charge; make sure that the White House has a system where
that person reports to the president, which is what I would expect
every single day.
And my question would be: What have you done to get the
hospitals open? What have you done to get people to move back? What
have you done to make sure the levees are strong enough to withstand
whatever might come next?
We've got to recognize rebuilding New Orleans is an American
problem, not a New Orleans or Louisiana problem alone.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Senator Clinton, thank you.
Senator Biden, would you pledge to stop no-bid contracts?
BIDEN: Yes.
(LAUGHTER)
OLBERMANN: You have an additional 20 seconds.
(APPLAUSE)
This debate, falling 455 days before the 2008 general election,
just 455 days...
(LAUGHTER)
... I want to ask everyone, and we'll go right down the line, for
30 seconds each.

OLBERMANN: As president, will it disturb you that the race to
replace you will begin possibly only days into your first term?
Governor Richardson?
RICHARDSON: I didn't hear it.
OLBERMANN: The race to replace you would begin perhaps days into
your first term as president. Does that trouble you?
RICHARDSON: Yes, it would trouble me. But what I would want to
do is bring this country together. We need -- enormous challenges to
face. It's got to be done in a bipartisan way. I believe that I've
got the most experience in foreign policy. I believe I've got the
most executive experience as a governor.
We elect governors in this country. I represent change,
experience and electability.
So even if there were a potential contest or somebody surfacing,
I believe that I would have the ability to bring this country
together, to heal this country, to end the division after the Iraq
war, to make the middle class feel that their president is behind
them, to have universal health care for all Americans.

OLBERMANN: Thank you, Governor.
Senator Obama, again, we're standing here 455 days until the
election. Does it not worry you? Is there not something wrong with
American politics that, indeed, the next campaign -- the 2012 campaign
-- might begin shortly after your inaugural?
OBAMA: Campaigns last too long and they cost too much money.
And they're disproportionately influence by Washington insiders, which
is why it's not going to be enough just to change political parties.
Look, George Bush has been a disaster, and we all know that. And
we're going to make sure that we don't have another Republican in
office. But we also have to make sure that we are mobilizing
Americans across race, region, faith, if we're actually going to bring
these changes about.
And what I've been happy about in my campaign is it reminds
people all the time, change doesn't happen from the top down. It
happens from the bottom up. It's because millions of voices gets
mobilized and organized, just like the people who are in this stadium
here today.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Obama.
Senator Biden, I know I'm putting the cart before the horse big
time here, but what about this fact that the campaigns are starting
earlier and earlier and your successor -- or your would-be successor
-- might be coming in the day you are sworn in yourself?

BIDEN: No, it wouldn't bother me, because I believe if I did the
job I'm capable of doing, it would not start then.
The reason it starts so early now is because we're so angry,
we're so frustrated. We know how badly this president has ruined this
country. We know how terrible we are internationally.
And I believe, quite frankly, that there's certain things that
when I became president you'd never have to wonder what I thought and
you'd never have to wonder whether -- what I was willing to lose over.
I think the next president of the United States, when he or she
takes office, better understand two things. One, they're going to be
left with virtually no margin of error. And two, they better
understand and believe what it's worth losing over if they're going to
get anything done.
That's the president I'd be. I wouldn't worry a bit about it.
OLBERMANN: Senator Biden, thank you.

OLBERMANN: The same question to you in 30 seconds, Senator
Clinton: What about the case of perpetual campaigning?
CLINTON: You know, I think I'll be so busy, I'm just not going
to worry about that.
We're going to try to do national health care as soon as we get
in there. We're going to have bring people together to do that.
We're going to move for energy independence and create those
millions of new jobs.
We're going to finally have an education policy that actually
will work for students and teachers and families and communities.
There's going to be so much work for America to do, that if some
people want to go out and start running for president four years ahead
of time, I don't care. I want people to stay focused on what we have
to accomplish together.
There's going to be a lot of repair work to do, and I'm going to
ask people to come to Washington, bring your brooms, bring your vacuum
cleaners, we've got to clean the place out -- and get to work
together.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Senator Clinton, thank you.
Senator Dodd, it appears I'm the only one out here troubled by
long campaigns.
(LAUGHTER)
DODD: You know, I think all of us are troubled by it, but I
think what needs to be understood, this campaign started early, not
because it began from the top down. It began because people like
those gathered here this evening were so frustrated and so angry over
how this administration was treating our country at home and abroad
that they were demanding answers.

DODD: Were this a parliamentary system, George Bush would be
gone by tonight. We don't have a parliamentary system. We have an
election system. And so the frustration comes from the bottom up.
I happen to believe what Joe and Hillary have said here. If we
start doing the job that we're committed to, if you look at our
records and where we've been on these issues over the years, you have
a higher degree of confidence in that.
And when we begin working on health care and education, on energy
and environmental policy, putting people back to work, you can have
all the campaigns you want, but America I think will respect that and
rally behind it.
OLBERMANN: Thank you, Senator Dodd.
Senator Edwards, is it too long, is it implausible that we would
be starting to look for the 2012 candidates?
EDWARDS: It's definitely too long. One of the things we could
do is publicly finance our political campaigns, which we should do.
But we need change in this country in the worst kind of way. I asked
James Lowe (ph), who is 51 years old, who I referred to in a previous
debate, who is from Virginia, to be here tonight. He was born with a
severe cleft palate and lived 50 years of his life in America without
being able to speak because he couldn't get the health care that he
needed.

EDWARDS: Now, I don't know about you. He was very noble and
kind about it. I think it is outrageous that, in the United States of
America, somebody could live for five decades, not able to stalk
because they can't get the health care they need.
When are we going to actually stand up to these drug companies
and these insurance companies?
We've got to stop playing nice. We have to beat these people.
There is too much at stake for America and too much at stake for
people like James Lowe (ph).
OLBERMANN: Senator Edwards, thanks.
Congressman Kucinich?
KUCINICH: I'm, kind of, the Seabiscuit of this campaign.
(APPLAUSE)
And when I come from behind to win this race, people are going to
say, no way are we going to run against this guy.
(LAUGHTER)
And so -- and another reason they're going to say it is because,
my first month in office -- cancel NAFTA and the WTO; trade based on
worker's rights, human rights, environmental quality principles; a
not-for-profit health care system; saving Social Security; making sure
we have universal pre-kindergarten.
Let me tell you, when I push through that agenda and establish a
worker's White House, they're going to be there to say: No
competition in 2012; we're ready for Kucinich for seven years, eight
years.

KUCINICH: Let's keep going. Make it happen.
(APPLAUSE)
OLBERMANN: Thanks for settling that, Congressman.
(APPLAUSE)
One stage, seven candidates, and only 96 minutes. We hope we
feel, or you feel that we have spent your time well. Our thanks to
the AFL-CIO for sponsoring this forum, and my thanks to the people of
MSNBC and NBC News, and most especially to these seven candidates on
this stage for making tonight happen.
This forum re-airs here tonight at midnight, Eastern time, 9:00
Pacific, 11:00 p.m. here in Chicago.
For those of you watching on WMAQ, this concludes our coverage.
For those of you watching on MSNBC, our coverage continues with my
colleague Chris Matthews, and I'll join Chris presently.
END

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 8, 2007 4:36 AM.

Sweet Dem AFL-CIO forum special. Partial Transcript. Full transcript to follow. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet blog special: AFL-CIO as expected likes all Dems; holds endorsment. Scramble for individual union nods is the next entry in this blog.

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